Saturday, December 17, 2011

Career News

Medical Entrance Examination

The Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad, informed in the Rajy Sabha on 13 December, that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Examination only for 15 per cent seats in the Government Medical/Dental Colleges in the country and candidates can opt for question paper either in English or in Hindi. For the remaining 85 per cent seats, the States conduct their own entrance examination and have the liberty to conduct it in their respective regional languages and, as such, there is no ban on use of regional languages as a medium for medical entrance examination

The Supreme Court, in Simran Jain case, has accepted the proposal of the Medical Council of India (MCI) to conduct common entrance test viz. National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to Under Graduate (UG) and Post Graduate (PG) medical courses in the country and directed the Council to take such steps as are necessary to implement the NEET. Accordingly, the Central Government has constituted a Committee to finalize the modalities for implementation of NEET

A few State Governments have expressed apprehensions about the proposed NEET inter alia relating to medium of the test. The Central Board of Secondary Education, which is the agency for conducting NEET for UG, has constituted an Advisory Committee consisting of Members from States to address the issues of admission processes prevalent in various States like reservation, medium of test, etc. 

Establishment of National Commission for Human Resources for Health

The Central Government had proposed to set up National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) under the Ministry of Human Resource Development for higher education and the National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as an overarching regulatory body for medical education and allied health sciences with a dual purpose of reforming the current regulatory framework and enhancing the supply of skilled manpower in the health sector.

The proposed Commission would subsume the existing councils viz., Medical Council of India, Dental Council of India, Nursing Council of India and Pharmacy Council of India. After consultations with the stakeholders, a draft Cabinet Note and Bill are being finalized for further necessary action.

The proposed NCHRH would also constitute a National Board for Health Education (NBHE) and a National Evaluation and Assessment Committee (NEAC) with a mandate to prescribe minimum standards for health education and developing and maintaining system of accreditation of health educational institutes respectively.

 Apart from this, National Councils have also been proposed to be set up under NCHRH to inter-alia ensure ethical standards among medical professionals. 
CSIR-Nehru Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an ensemble of 37 state-of-the-art institutes, is amongst the foremost scientific and industrial research organizations in India. Over the years, this unique organization has helped India usher in a scientific milieu, creating and nurturing talent in a wide variety of S&T domains, spawned many organizations, many disciplines and most importantly has served as a nursery and training ground for most of India‟s talented scientists and technologists. CSIR annually publishes over 3800 papers in science journals and holds over 3000 patents.

This Fellowship Scheme  has been instituted to identify promising young researchers with innovative ideas and provide them with training and research opportunities in niche areas of basic science, engineering, medicine and agriculture. The scheme aims at facilitating their transition from mentored to independent research career.

CSIR intends to offer one hundred (100) such fellowships every year to promising fresh PhD holders for working in CSIR laboratories with state-of-art R&D facilities. Eligibility: PhD degree holders within three years of award of PhD degree, or those who have submitted PhD theses. Applicants who are about to submit thesis are also eligible to apply, but their selection will be subject to the condition that they would have submitted thesis before the expiry of the validity of the award offer. Applicants should have research publications in high impact SCI journals.

Though CSIR-Nehru Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is open to Indian nationals, Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), a certain number (up to 20%) of fellowships may be offered to foreign nationals.

Maximum Age Limit: 32 years, relaxable upto 5 years in case of SC/ST/OBC/Physically handicapped and women candidates.
Tenure: Two years and extendable for maximum one more year based on outstanding performance and recommendation from the Director of the CSIR lab where working.

Remuneration: CSIR Nehru Science Postdoctoral Fellows will be paid a consolidated fellowship of Indian Rs. 35,000/- per month plus House Rent Allowance (HRA) as admissible and a contingency grant of Rs. 3.0 lakh per annum. 25% of the contingency grant can be used for domestic and international travel including per diem expenses.

Mode of selection: Eligible candidates can apply in the prescribed format, available on the website, any time of the year. However, the selections will be made twice a year, in the months of June and December. Applications received two months before the scheduled interview date will be considered for short listing and calling for interview. Eligible candidates must route their applications through the sponsoring CSIR laboratory.

Selections to the “CSIR-Nehru Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowships” will be made based on the presentation of the proposed research project followed by interview of short listed candidates by specially constituted Committees. Applicants from abroad may also be considered in absentia, if eligible. Selection of foreign nationals will be subjected to clearance by ISTADS, CSIR.
Other benefits: Accommodation may be provided by CSIR laboratories if available. CSIR rules on leased accommodation are being reviewed in the light of Sixth Pay Commission recommendations and will be made applicable as and when approved. CSIR-Nehru Science Postdoctoral Fellows will be entitled for Medical benefits as per the CSIR rules for Research Associates.
Other relevant information: (i) Candidates who have worked for their PhD from a particular CSIR laboratory will not be eligible for becoming a PDF in the same CSIR laboratory under this scheme. (ii) 20% of the fellowship amount will be paid as lump sum at the end of completion of 1st and 2nd year, respectively. (iii) Selected candidates are expected to join within four months of effective date of award.
All other rules and regulations will be as applicable to CSIR Research Associates (can be seen at Further, in all matters, the decision of CSIR shall be final. List of CSIR laboratories and their R&D activities can be seen at For more information visit the website of the individual laboratory.
Applications duly filled in the prescribed format and complete in all respect should be sent to: Ms Sushila Khilnani, Scientist-G, Human Resource Development Group, CSIR Complex,Library Avenue,Pusa, New Delhi-110012.Email : Tel: 011-25846077. Application for CSIR-Nehru Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship” should clearly be written on top of the envelope containing application form.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

News Bulletin

Top of FormProf. C.N.R. Rao Bags Ernesto Science Prize for 2011

Prof. C.N.R. Rao of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, has been awarded the Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize for 2011. This is in recognition of his contributions to materials research. This award is being given for the first time by the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World. The award includes a cash prize of dollars 100,000, a medal, and a citation. The award was presented in Trieste. The award recognizes Prof. Rao’s 50 years’ monumental contributions to the chemistry of materials. Prof. Rao delivered a lecture on his research contributions after receiving this award. Source: PIB/21.11.2011
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HLL Lifecare Limited Makes Progress 

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was presented with a cheque of Rs. 233 lakhs as annual dividend to Government of India by HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL). HLL was established on 1st March 1966, with its incorporation as a corporate entity under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. 

HLL was set for the production of male contraceptive sheaths for the National Family Welfare Programme. The Plant was established in technical collaboration with M/s Okamoto Industries Inc., Japan. 

HLL has now grown into a multi-product, multi-unit organization addressing various public health challenges.HLL is today a mini flagship company, and upgraded as a Schedule B Central Public Sector Enterprise.

HLL has also tied up with Indira Gandhi National Open University to run courses in post-graduate diploma course on Clinical Engineering and Management (PGDCM) and diploma course on Clinical Engineering and Management (PDCEM). Azad was also presented with the first copy of course prospectus.

The Minister was also handed over HLL contraceptive product “cycle beads” – a colour coded string of beads that helps women track their menstrual cycle and identify their fertile days as an easy and effective family planning method.Source:PI.B.09.11.2011

Measures for Effective Implementation of Diagnostic Technique Act
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The recent initiatives undertaken by Government of India to strengthen effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act include the following:

• Rule 11 (2) of the PC & PNDT Rules, 1996 has been amended to provide for confiscation of unregistered machines and further punishment of organizations which fail to register themselves under the Act.

• The National Inspection and Monitoring Committee has been reconstituted and apart from inspections, further empowered to oversee follow-up action by Appropriate Authorities against organizations found guilty of violations under the Act during inspections.

• Operational guidelines for PNDT-NGO Grant in Aid Scheme have been revised to ensure targeted use of resources for effective implementation of the Act.

• States have been asked during appraisal of the annual Programme Implementation Plan (PIP) to take advantage of funding available under NRHM for strengthening infrastructure and augmentation of human resources required for effective implementation of the PC & PNDT Act.

Hundred and twenty seven cases have been reported for violations of Pre-Conception and Pre- Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 in the current year.

As per the 2011 Census (provisional), the sex ratio has increased from 933 in 2001 to 940 in 2011. However, the child sex ratio (0-6 years) has shown a decline from 927 in 2001 to 914 in 2011. As per the United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, there are 106.8 males per 100 females in India. This information was laid in Lok Sabha on 25th November, 2011.

p of FormssssfffffffPopulation Dynamics, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister and Chair, Partners in Population Development (PPD) Ghulam Nabi Azad addressed the opening session of the International Conference on “Population Dynamics, Climate Change and Sustainable Development” at Pretoria, South Africa, on 1st November, 2011.

Azad emphasized that the route to a climate sustainable human population, to a certain extent, lies in the removal of barriers to use of family planning and the rights-based population policies envisioned by the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD) participants in Cairo in 1994.

“Empirical evidence indicates that population dynamics will play a key role in efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of changes in the climate system. Universal access to reproductive health will ultimately contribute to declines in fertility. These fertility declines would lead to population levels below those projected in most greenhouse-gas emission scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” Azad said.

The opening session of the conference was attended by Minister for Social Development, and Board Member, PPD, Government of the Republic of South Africa, Ms. Bathabile Dlamini, PPD Board Members and other subject experts.

Azad invited attention of the gathering to the fact that human consumption is depleting the Earth’s natural resources and impairing the capacity of life-supporting ecosystems. He said scientific evidence has pointed out that the epidemiological impact of climate change on disease patterns would be profound worldwide, especially in developing countries where health system are still vulnerable and vast majority of population remains underserved.

He emphasized that it is this marginalized and underserved population which is most at risk and will be the hardest hit due to climate change – inducing migration, destroying livelihoods, disrupting economies, undermining development and exacerbating inequities between sexes. Estimates suggest that 150 million environmental refugees will exist by 2050; one in six countries could face food shortage each year due to severe drought; It is also being said that average global temperatures could rise by as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century destroying as much as 30 percent of plant and species, he added.

Azad said some key activities that we could begin to address the challenge include: Advocacy to reduce restrictions on access to family planning information and services, including for young people and the unmarried; Advocacy for the financial and human resources necessary to strengthen family planning and related reproductive health services, including programs that address the HIV/AIDS.

Other actions are supporting access to all methods of family planning including the safe abortion services that are essential to reproductive health and childbearing choices. Besides, advocacy for reduction in consumption of critical natural resources and the resulting waste and pollution and advocacy for education and empowerment of girls and women in order to encourage women to participate in socio-economic development, slower population growth, raise the age at first birth, prevent unintended pregnancies and deaths associated with high fertility.

At the opening session, Azad also launched a publication on “Innovative Experiences in Addressing Population and Reproductive Health Challenges in PPD Member States”. He said the experience of sharing case studies would be beneficial not only in promoting population stabilization and reproductive health agenda in general but also in fast tracking achievement of MDGs and ICPD goals in developing countries.

India has been the chair of the PPD Board for the last 3 years. PPD is an inter-governmental initiative which was launched in 1994 for the purpose of expanding and improving South-to-South Collaboration in the fields of reproductive health, population and development following the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).Source:PIB.01/.11.2011

India to spend 2.5% of GDP on Health

Syeda Hamid, Member of Planning Commission, has earlier said that 2.5% of GDP will be used instead of 1.8% of GDP in health sector during next Plan Period. Addressing the International Vaccination Symposium at Surajkund near Delhi on 17th November, Hamida said that this will be a very big jump. 

She said that to strengthen the National Immunization Programme we have to bring confidence in community and people to avail this help. She added that year by year achievement has to be recorded to get maximum benefits. Planning Commission will insist that what is spent has to be commensurate in result, she added.

Giving examples of her visit to Bhawanpura village in Haridwar district and Malegon she said, “These villages are inhabited by very poor people and surrounded by industries. Though sickness is rampant and level of poverty is high, they do not go to government dispensaries as they have no faith in medicines given to them and also have apprehension to what kind of treatment they will receive. Public health scenario is abysmal but women refuse to avail these facilities.”

For outreach programme, Smt Syeda Hamid suggested that interaction of local police, Anganwadi workers, religious heads of different sects and others have to help in mobilizing people to accept health facilities. She also said that we have to break barriers and gender can play a big role in improving the situation. Besides this, issues of sanitation, waste disposal, pollution by industries, better innovated delivery system, road and transport etc have to be improved.

Referring to the development in these sectors in Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka, Hamida said this is an awakening call for us as we are lacking behind these countries in the field of Human Development. She suggested to follow the policy of ‘break silos and conversion’ to achieve larger goal of vaccination and bring the nation on human development in the context of health.

All concerned Ministries, departments, sectors and aspects have to work together. Talking about ‘Limited Evidence of Introduction of new vaccine’, Syeda said, “We must not wait for an enemy to enter our society. Such vaccines should be used as early as possible preventive measures.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Indian Scientists and Technologists Working Abroad:Opportunities in Networking,Collaboration, and Career

There are excellent oppertunities for Indian scientists working abroad to collaborate, visit Indian S&T institutions, and share their expertise and knowledge, and contribute to country's progress.

In a reply to the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) the India's State Minister in the Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Ashwani Kumar, informed about several initiatives for attracting Indian scientists working abroad for utilizing their expertise in various field of research in the country.

The initiatives have been taken up by  different S&T departments:

Department of Science and Technology (DST) - “Collaborative Projects with Scientist and Technologists of Indian Origin Abroad” for strengthening institutional and human capacity building, enhancing technology entrepreneurship and augmenting stronger alma-mater relationship.

There is a provision to sponsor upto 20 joint projects annually based on a call for proposal.  In this program, joint project based visit of scientists of Indian origin into India are co-funded by DST and Indian partnering host institution covering return air travel, honorarium, accommodation costs.

Typically around 125 applications are received  per call for proposals. So far, 37 joint projects involving STIOs abroad have been sponsored with DST.

Department of Science and TechnoDepartment logy (DST)-  Ramanujan Fellowship Program for Indian brilliant scientists and engineers from all over the world, especially those who wish to return to India, to take up scientific  research positions at any of the scientific institutions and universities in India.

 All areas of science are covered under this Fellowship and the Fellowship is given for 5 years duration with fellowship of Rs. 75,000 consolidated per month and a contingent grant of Rs.5 lakhs per year. Since inception 266 applications have been received and 102 Indian origin scientists working abroad have been offered this “Fellowship”.

Department of Science and Technology (DST)-  Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE)  Faculty Scheme “Assured Opportunity for Research Career (AORC)” offers a contractual research positions  to Indian citizens and people of Indian origin including NRI/PIO status with Ph D (in science, engineering, pharmacy, medicine, and agriculture related subjects) from any recognized university in the world.

This scheme offers young achievers an opportunity for taking up an independent research in the near term and emerge as a future leader in the long term. The scheme requires applicants to be in the upper limit of age 32 years and they can choose any Indian recognised institution/academia of their choice for contractual research position.

 This Scheme provides a provision of maximum 1000 INSPIRE Faculty positions per year. The INSPIRE Faculty position is for a maximum period of 5 (five) years.  Each selected INSPIRE Faculty shall be eligible to receive a consolidated amount equivalent to the scale of the Assistant Professor of an IIT as Fellowship amount.

 In addition, a Research Grant of Rs 7 lakh per year for 5 years shall also be provided to each successful candidate. Of the 455 applications received in the first announcement under this scheme, 34 are from people of Indian origin including NRI/PIO status with PhD.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) –Senior Research Associate (SRA) Scheme aims at attracting Indian scientists working abroad to work in India. The candidates selected under this scheme are appointed in the scale of Scientist B (PB-III Grade Pay Rs.5400 for natural sciences degree holders & Grade Pay Rs. 6600 for medical and engineering science degree holders). Since 2001, 282 SRA appointments have been made.

Department of Biotechnology (DBT) - “Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship” for Indian Nationals who are working overseas in various  fields of biotechnology and life sciences and are interested in taking up scientific research positions in India. Ramalingaswami Re-entry fellows would be able to work in any of the scientific institutions/ universities in the country and would also be eligible for regular research grant through extramural and other research schemes of various S&T agencies of the Government of India.

 This program provides for upto 50 fellowships annually, for a period of five years. Fellowship awardees is given Rs. 75,000/ pm, House Rent Allowance of Rs. 7,500/- p.m. as well as  a research /contingency grant of Rs.500,000 per annum Since inception of this initiative, so far 400 applications have resulted in selection of 97 Indian scientists working abroad have been selected for “Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowships” and 70 of them have already joined in prestigious Indian institutions.

Department of Biotechnology (DBT) - Welcome Trust Fellowship Program is a three tier fellowship program (Senior Fellowship, Intermediate Fellowship, Early Career Fellowship) attracting outstanding Indian scientists, physicians researchers and bio-engineers of Indian origin working abroad, to return to India and take up scientific research positions in India, nurture best Indian scientists to perform at international level and to increase the number of locations in India where world-class science is undertaken.

The total award for a Senior Fellowship typically amounts to INR 4.5 Crores; for an Intermediate Fellowship amounts to INR 3.5 Crores; and for Early Career Fellowship amounts to INR 1.5 Crores.  Upto 70 fellowships are available. Since inception, 780 applications have been received and 52 Indian origin scientists working abroad have been selected for this DBT-Welcome Trust Fellowship.

Department of Biotechnology (DBT)- Energy Biosciences Overseas Fellowship.This Fellowship aims to bring back scientists of Indian origin working outside India to pursue R&D in an Indian scientific institute /university in fields of energy related biological sciences and bio-energy.

Normal duration of fellowship is for 5 years. Fellowship provides for Rs.75, 000 per month consolidated and contingent grant of Rs.5 lakhs /year, international and domestic travel, hiring of manpower. Further Indian host institution can consider giving additional benefits as applicable to regular faculty. Since inception, 11 Indian origin scientists working abroad have applied and 3 have been selected for (DBT) - Energy Biosciences Overseas Fellowship.

The above programmes offer important career buiding initiatives for Indian scientists to return and work in India.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Career Choice

Choice of career is the most important and the most difficult decision in one's life. While each individual is inclined to a particular profession, he or she most often lands into a career where he has no heart and soul into it. It is a burden that one carries all  his life.

Our education, our cultural settings, economic pressures, family responsibilities, etc, etc give rise to situations that influence our career. Can we do any thing to ensure that one lands into a carrier of one's choice and liking. This is possible by initiating a dialogue, discussion, and by giving precedence to one's inclination and abilities over everything else!

So let us initiate the discussion and bring in, in between anything and everything in this domain of 'career' for information and discussion.